Nursery vs Childminder??(16 Posts)
Hoping to get some feedback from parents who have been through the stress of deciding on appropriate childcare.
Trying to decide what would be better for a 12 month old baby - nursery or childminder. Me & husband both work full time, so will be looking at probably 4 full days a week.
Feel under pressure to make a decision soon as nursery places fill up so quickly. Have found a nursery I like, but not really sure how to go about finding a childminder, and not sure what will be best for a child of that age.
Can anyone share their experience of what worked for them and pros / cons of nursery vs childminder?
I'm very biased as I'm a CM!
But, CM's give a home environment where the lo's experience a family atmosphere usually combined with going to playgroups/ parks etc. and a lot more one on one attention as they can only have 1 under 12 month and total of 3 pre schoolers at a time.
CM's are all CRB checked, insured, registered with OFSTED , first aid trained and regularly inspected. we also have to deliver the EYFS just as nurseries do.
It's a bit more like having a nanny, but in the CM's home, and often it's a lot more long term than nursery ( with lots of mine, I've had them since babies, then they still come for wraparound school care right up to 11 or 12 years old) so the continuity of care is there.
It's best to find one who knows other CM's who would cover for her if she was ever ill ( not that I've ever taken a day off, but that's possibly the only downside I can think of!)
if you look up fis ( family information service), that should have a list of local CM's or try childcare.co.uk ( you have to pay to send messages, but if you view a CM's profile, they will then get back to you so you don't have to pay iyswim)
Hi OP, I cannot comment CMs, but we have found a good nursery for our 2. My eldest is 17 months and she has been going for 7 months. The nursery we chose takes children from 0730-1800, lets them sleep when they want, provide breakfast, lunch and tea (homecooked and good with the allergy my daughter has), they also provide the nappies. It's more expensive than a CM but the nursery we chose has excellent indoor and outdoor facilities and has 4 different areas for different aged children.
We saw a few before we plumped for the one we did, I felt it was important that as the children will be there for a long time they have plenty of things to do, plenty of opportunity to rest if they wished and that they were getting good wholesome food.
I would suggest to look at both options and following your gut instinct.
Another vote for nursery, I like the setting for my DD. She does lots of activities, comes home covered in paint and is so happy playing there all day with her little friends. She started there at 11 months.
My cons with using a childminder is mainly to do with holidays - having to cover theirs and any sick days. We have no family nearby so we really do need the opening hours of a nursery, which is obviously open regardless of staff holidays or staff calling in sick.
Nursery here. Dc1 loves it , loves the social aspect and has come on leaps and bound development wise.
I have been recently looking as returning to work. I wouldn't use a nursery for an under 3 unless I really had to.
I think it is what ever works for you, however I love my childminder and didn't like the nurseries we looked at. LO was nine months when he started there. The CM is in a small setting, with an outdoor area, and he only has 2 adults looking after him (CM and her daughter) so not lots of different staff to get used to. I feel like they know him well, as they only have a few children to look after, compared to nurseries. Again he does lots of activities, we get drawings and cards "he" makes. Whenever they have had holidays, they have suggested alternative cover
I'm a teacher so we've only needed to use it once
Having said that, some of the other CM's we met I wouldn't have been happy leaving my PFB with, so it's about getting the right fit for you.
Both my children have been to excellent nurseries. I wanted an environment where my children would not have a single carer. A CM felt like a substitute mummy! I was also concerned about having to miss work if CM was ill. I liked the opportunities at nursery for extra activities (tumble tots and even drama lessons!) I wanted my kids to mix with a range of other children.
Childminders in my experience have been fantastic, home from home environment, lots of one to one attention and still lots of socialising. I've also made lifelong friends of my first two childminders, now we've moved and have a new cm and if possible she's even more amazing! The DDs love her, they do so much every day and have made wonderful friends.
I can see the good points of nursery for older DCs but definitely for 12m I would vote cm.
Good luck searching whatever you decide.
We use both. DD1 goes to CM for wraparound care. DD2 does nursery 4 days, CM 1 day. Benefits of nursery are more structured activities, wider social group of same age (many of whom will join DD at school in 2 years), no risk of cancelled days due to adult sickness, open during school hols (unlike all CMs in this area). Benefits of CM are homely environment, doing more activities outside the home (including local toddler groups with other children of my friends with whom she'll also attend school in 2 years), less strict rules about child sickness (eg CM took DD 2 days after chicken pox, nursery insisted on 5; nursery also very strict on 48 hours after sickness, even when it was caused by too many halloween sweets rather than a bug!), not so mean if I'm late to collect (just charges by the extra 15 mins), plus I know the CM outside of work capacity. Many advantages of both, which will be decided by your working pattern, your child's health, other children in the area and contact you want to maintain with them and of course the cost.
Sorry for lack of paragraphs, that wax a stream of consciousness!
For my first two children I sent them to nursery and thought all the positives mentioned by other posters.
Once my oldest went to school it wasn't as practical and I moved them to a childminder at ages 4 and 2. If you we're to ask my boys to pick childminder wins over nursery. When I had my third child she went to a childminder at 8 months.
Everyone is different and the nursery was great at the time but for me the continuity of care and how much happier my kids are with a childminder means personally my biggest regret is I ever sent them to nursery.
I'm not sure it is even worth thinking nursery or CM as a good nursery will be much better than a poor CM and vice versa.
My DD has been to two nurseries and the second is small enough for her to know all of the staff really well. The great staff ratios also mean that they are really able to personalise what they do. It also doesn't have many children in the school holidays and only a couple of staff then and I think that has some benefits equivalent to the small group size of a CM. So I think she has the best of both worlds. I wouldn't send another child to her old nursery as it has got much bigger since she left and I think that it probably is a bit impersonal now and wouldn't provide great continuity of care.
There are big pros and cons for both, and in my opinion it depends whether those pros and cons suit you.
We use a CM. We chose a CM mainly because we need a degree of flexibility that a nursery can't always provide because of the small potential for everything going tit's up and me and DP being stuck 30 miles away Also DP is an emergency services worker so he's not always able to pick up when he should be. Our CM is very flexible, fear cost-effective for us, doesn't mind our weird hours, and I'm more comfortable knowing that if the train line breaks and everything goes horribly wrong, DD is in a house where she will be given dinner, a bath and put to bed, not the only child in a nursery. That disaster hasn't happened yet but I feel better knowing it won't be the end of the world.
I've nothing against nurseries though and I'm really keen for DD to start nursery/pre-school as well as the CM when she's a little older. I think it's really important for kids to learn to be in big groups and have more structure etc.
However, for really little ones I think a CM can feel a lot more personal and homely. Our CM has about 5 little ones within a year in age (her husband is now her assistant) and they are such good friends, they're a little band who look out for each other at playgroups and get very protective, it's quite sweet. They do loads of playgroups and classes and get out and about, but also are in a nice home environment a lot. Our CM seems to find it easier to let the children do what they want - for example, DD loves being outside and the layout of the house means she can be outside, in clear view of the patio window, while the others play inside if they want to.
The big con with CM's is the illness and holiday, though I don't think that's ever as bad as people imagine it might be. Our CM takes maybe 3 weeks holiday a year, and we know about it months in advance. It's not a problem because we just take our own holiday then (say that week over Christmas), though we are fortunate that if it is a little bit awkward for a day or so DD can stay at grandparents for a few days. So I guess that was part of our decision. We've had 2 illness/emergency days but those were very special circumstances, and both times DD was able to go to another CM's for the day, one she knew because they all went to playgroups etc together. A lot of CM's have this sort of arrangement for emergencies.
But the only thing that matters is your gut feeling. Go and see a few nurseries, go and meet and few CMs. I guarantee you you'll have a gut feeling about one or the other!
I preferred the idea of a nursery as using a CM means putting a lot of trust in one person and seemed like more of a risk. I didn't like the idea of someone driving my daughter around. I know that sounds really overprotective but what if the CM was a careless driver. What if the CM collapsed at home or fell down the stairs when alone with my baby. In a nursery there are always other carers around. What if the CM put my baby in front of the TV so she could do her housework etc. Also, a CM can be ill and not be able to have the child whereas nursery is contracted to have my daughter every day except bank holidays.
My daughter has been to 2 nurseries. The first one from 10 months to 25 months. She was happy there up until 2 but she didn't settle in her 2 to 3 room and there always seemed to be different staff in the room. I moved her to anew nursery 2 weeks ago and I really love the new one. My daughter has settled brilliantly. The ladies are so caring and her room is so homely and cosy. Every day she comes home full of stories about all the activities she's been doing. They have a dedicated chef who makes lovely, healthy, balanced meals so the carers can concentrate on the children.
I think CMs often work out cheaper though. My daughter does 4 days a week at nursery and it costs over £900 a month which is a hell of a lot but I feel that she is getting the best possible care.
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